(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) It is 12 years since an Al Maktoum Challenge winner has gone onto win the Dubai World Cup but veteran trainer Satish Seemar is optimistic that North America has a strong chance of replicating the feat achieved by the three other horses in last 22 years.
The three horses to win both races are Dubai Millennium (2000), Street Cry (2002) and Electrocutionist (2006). Incidentally, all were trained by Saeed bin Suroor, who has saddled the winner of this race on no less than 11 occasions for Godolphin.
"He has a solid chance," Seemar told Khaleej Times when asked if sees North America going on to win the World Cup on March 31. The six-year-old from Zabeel Stables defeated his close rival from Godolphin stables, Thunder Snow by 5 lengths to win 23rd renewal of the Dubai World Cup on Super Saturday.
"He has progressed in front of everyone by winning," Seemar, who made history in 1993 to became the first UAE-based trainer to win a race in Europe, said, adding that the World Cup last year was the only setback. "That was due to rain and it can happen anytime."
Before the Super Saturday win, North America had won two races in 2016 and two in 2017 thus taking his winning tally to 5 in his 14 runs since August 26, 2014.
However, he reiterated that North America was a solid serious contender. "If everything, including draw, goes right then he has the best chance to win the World Cup on Saturday," he confidently said.
Drawn six in a field of 12 for the $400,000 Al Maktoum Challenge, Richard Mullen's mount, running for Ramzan Kadyrov and Seemar, was ridden positively to get get past two-time Group 1 winner Thunder Snow.
"Last time, when second to Thunder Snow (in Round 2), was probably a career-best and he has built on that again tonight. I just wanted to get him into a rhythm; not necessarily to lead, but we broke so well, I was able to get to the front and he was then always happy. I am just very lucky to be part of a big team with Satish (Seemar) at Zabeel Stables. Everyone works so hard and it is great on occasions like this for everyone. Obviously the Dubai World Cup is going to be a stronger race, but he deserves his chance," Mullen said after the race.
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